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Van Rensselaer Hatcher Jr.

Van Rensselaer Hatcher Jr., of 989 S. Church Street Extension,Brookhaven, died on Oct. 18, 2006, at King’s Daughters MedicalCenter after a brief illness. Services for Mr. Hatcher will takeplace at the Brookhaven Funeral Home Chapel at 11 a.m. on Saturday,Oct. 21, 2006. The visitation will begin at 9 a.m. and continueuntil time for the services. Interment will be in Brookhaven’sCatholic Cemetery.

Van R. Hatcher Jr., was born on May 14, 1914, in Indianola toVan R. Hatcher Sr., and Annie Laurie Wilson Hatcher. When hismother died in 1919, Van and his brothers lived with theirgrandparents in Indianola, before moving to El Dorado, Ark., tolive with their dad. Van attended El Dorado High School and TylerJunior College in Tyler, Texas, and graduated from the Universityof Texas at Austin in 1937 with a Bachelor’s degree in businessadministration. He was a member of the University of Texas MarchingBand.

Van took a job as tax auditor with the Mississippi State TaxCommission and moved to Brookhaven in 1937. He soon met Mary EllenBecker, and they married on Sept. 1, 1940. In early 1943 they movedto Anniston, Ala., where Van was in charge of “Civilian Control” atthe Anniston Ordnance Depot. Later, in 1943, Van joined theall-volunteer Army Air Corps Combat Glider Pilot Program. He becamea flight officer in the 438th Troop Carrier Group and received hisglider wings at South Plains Army Air Field in Lubbock, Texas. Hisgroup was sent to Rheims, France, in early 1945, and participatedin Operation Varsity. He piloted his CG-4A glider over the RhineRiver into Germany in order to defend the remaining bridges and tosupport General Patton’s advance into Germany. He stayed on inGermany as part of the Army of the Occupation until May of1946.

Following the war, Van and Mary lived for a time in New YorkCity while Van took graduate courses in accounting at ColumbiaUniversity. He worked briefly as an accountant in New Orleans. Heand Mary moved back to Brookhaven where he went to work with Mr.Willie Becker before opening his private accounting practice. Heretired in 1986. Van also was a tree farmer in east Lincoln Countyfor many years. He was a member and officer in the MississippiAssociation of Public Accountants and a member of Masonic Lodge No.241. In recent years, he attended Faith Presbyterian Church.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Mary EllenBecker; by his parents; and by his brothers, George and JackHatcher and their wives.

He is survived by his daughters: Laurie H. Nicholson, of BatonRouge, La.; Bettie H. Cox and her husband David Powers, ofHattiesburg; and Kathy H. Hazlitt of Flowood. He also is survivedby his grandchildren: Jeffery Russell Nicholson and his wifeStacey, of Baton Rouge, Georgia L. Nicholson, of Baton Rouge,Matthew E. Flynn and his wife Allison, of Hattiesburg, Van R.Hazlitt and his wife Haley, of Nashville, Tenn., Maria E. Hazlitt,of Flowood, and Joye C. Cox, of Tallahassee, Fla. Hisgreat-grandchildren are Allie, Kayleigh, Blaine and Kyle Nicholsonof Baton Rouge, and Harper Hazlitt, of Nashville.

He is also survived by two sisters-in-law, Mrs. Victor Beckerand Mrs. Walter Becker, both of Brookhaven, and by numerous nieces,nephews, cousins.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the MississippiSchool of the Arts Foundation, P.O. Box 229, Brookhaven, MS 39602or to the Palmer Home for Children, 912 11th Avenue South,Columbus, MS 39701.